Penley of ZenFi Networks on the Requirement of Collaboration in a 5G World

In part three of this series, Andy Penley of ZenFi Networks told us more about his thoughts on applications for 5G and how he sees it making our day-to-day lives more efficient, functional and enjoyable. Today, we circle back to the collaborative efforts that Penley says will be required to achieve the goal of a 5G world.

To achieve the lofty goal of making quality of life better for all, Penley explains how the underlying infrastructure and the networks that have supported data and applications for years are now undergoing a fundamental shift. Networks of the past were built to solve a sparse networking problem. Now they must solve the challenge of supplying mobile capabilities with equal parts robust capacity and high accessibility. This means completing massive build outs of wireless nodes and antennas. 

In the past, he shared that a limited number of macro base stations was suitable. However, as data now needs to reach more destinations and coverage is becoming more comprehensive through the use of C-RAN architecture – defined by a centralized or cloud computing-based radio access network – C-RAN architecture is paramount. Penley says this will require dividing large macro sites into a highly dense fabric of small cells, antennas and edge colocation points. This densification ensures access to additional spectrum through the deployment of small, low-powered cell sites connected to local network hubs with fiber optic cables. 

Of course, Penley agrees, it is natural to wonder how this future of networking will impact local communities. However, with the many opportunities 5G brings, it is important to note that the process of densification should be celebrated for what it will deliver, while creating relatively minimal interference for constituents and municipalities alike. Communities need to realize that small cells are not a novel development. In fact, thousands of them have already been deployed. It is important to note that these sites are compact, safe and consume low energy. Since it is transmitted at low power levels, the spectrum will not travel as far nor be able to penetrate as strongly as traditional lower bands. This is why it must be deployed so densely and it’s also why it should be of no additional concern for communities or individuals.

Penley circles back to collaborative deployments, stating that while infrastructure providers, mobile network operators and others continue to work with municipalities and prioritize their understanding of 5G and its development, there are some ways that municipalities can help reach true rollout more efficiently on behalf of their constituents. Penley advises residents and business owners to seek out information about 5G and become more knowledgeable about why it’s crucial all people to better understand how to pave the way for progress. 

Penley says, “With knowledge comes comfort, and with comfort comes progress.”  He goes on to summarize, “We’ve made great collective strides toward the 5G future, but there is still a lot of work to be done before we can achieve 5G’s full potential and unlock its benefits. But in the case of 5G and the bright future it brings for everyone in all walks of life, it is more than worth it.”

To read our 3 part blog series from the beginning, click here.

To learn more about Andy Penley, click here.

To learn more about ZenFi Networks, click here.